Procedural generation in Star Citizen

It’s only a stretch goal, but in case of Star Citizen: stretch goal = confirmed.

Among the most common feature requests for Star Citizen are atmospheric combat and ground exploration. These are the single biggest things we would like to include in the game, but they’re also something we know we can’t have day one. Our universe is a big place, and creating the hundreds of existing landouts properly is enough of a challenge… building entire continents and atmospheres in the current system would take a lifetime.

That’s where procedural generation comes in. If we can develop a truly great procedural generation system, one that lets us create entire planets for you to populate, then we can expand the game to add these features (and more) in the future.

Procedural Generation R&D Team – This stretch goal will allocate funding for Cloud Imperium to develop procedural generation technology for future iterations of Star Citizen. Advanced procedural generation will be necessary for creating entire planets worth of exploration and development content. A special strike team of procedural generation-oriented developers will be assembled to make this technology a reality.

I wonder how CryEngine, an engine with only 16-bit FP precision that struggles even with 4x4 km maps, will handle such thing.

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IIRC, they work with the CryEngine’s engineers (hence, among other thins, why it is so expensive) to modify their version of the engine. So they will probably re-work it to support the vast distances involved.
Or they will use lots and lots of instancing, but I would be surprised.

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The plan was to use instancing, but it could change. They have a much, much bigger budget and team now.


Essentially the floating point will handle 4-16km square areas and fixed point for the area position

So they were planning to use very small areas: 2x2 km - 4x4 km.

It’s true that a normal CryEngine level has a limit of the 8km*8km*2km). Anyways we will using a system that allows streaming in and out different level segments. Once a player reaches the border of a level the engine has already streamed in the next level. This process will be invisible to the player so it feels like you fly thru an endless space. Still the gameplay will be focused on the core of a system you are in and thus at some point you will simply fly into the empty nowhere. Like in the real universe empty space between planets will be enormous and traveling is only possible via hyperjump. How big those "cores" will be is not 100% clear yet.

“Think of a “battle” instance like a Battlefield 3 multiplayer session or a World of Tanks Battle with the key difference that the selection of players is done transparently and is “in fiction”.”

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So they were planning to use very small areas: 2x2 km - 4x4 km.

Do you know what makes 64-bit precision 64-bit precision? Also, CryEngine isn’t * “16 bit precision”*, that’s just for compressing structural map models like buildings which are quite polygonal and don’t really need more.

I-Novae’s engine can also emulate 64-bit precision if your hardware doesn’t support 64-bit FPA.

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What does lots and lots of instancing have to do with distance?

Sounds like more marketing hype to get more $$$$$. Give them another few months and they will have a limited number of Death Star models to buy for $682.58 usd…

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Sounds like a good thing to me. Bigger studios with bigger budgets working in procedural means more research, more discovery, more knowledge! Until now it is people like the demoscene, Flavien, indies, etc. who are doing the heavy work in this field – with limited time, limited commitment, and, of course, limited budget.

Would love to someday see on Amazon “Procedural Pro” “Procedural Gems 6” “Procedural Engine Gems 3” instead of Graphics *…


Will these include the proper processes and procedures behind preparing pie?

Some one will come and say this about everything. Why are we discussing this (Star Citizen) on I-Novae’s forums anyway? People. Stop making these topics. Go talk about other people’s shit at their special-usage appropriated forum designation units.

Maybe not but it does make a nice word… ‘Procedural Pies 6’…I quite prefer that to ‘Gems’ :smiley:

After all who cares about a gem when you can have a whole pie…

Welp. That seems important. Building a game to take account of vast procedural environments is one thing. Shoehorning them into a finished game? Would they replace the traditional small-medium scale combat maps or would they be tacked on as something extra?

There’s all sorts of ways this could go badly. Reminds me of OLD-CCP’s feature sells.

I just wanted to use the letter ‘p’ for as many words as I could. xD

I think that’s something they’re trying to figure out themselves. That’s why it’s a stretchgoal for an R&D team about procedural generation, not a stretchgoal for procedural generation ie, no guarantees as to what it’s going to be or what they’ll do with it at this point. We probably won’t see it for years.

Why we are talking about Star Citizen here rather than on their forums:

Because some of us, myself included, would like to have a meaningful discussion regarding the technology related to the game without having to deal with an army of fanboys telling us we can’t question it, and it’s not like there’s anything new to talk about regarding Infinity right now.

Or in other words: “why not?”


You can talk about it here, no one said don’t. I would not call some of us fanboys as they slag other games nor can take any negative remarks about such games, we’re loyalists.

I have asked questions on some fourms and Youtube about SC and how the game play works, even asked if people think it has gone the way of P2W I have been flamed and slamed. I haven’t seen that here towards anyone who has pledged to SC, including Flavien.

I would love to be able to get excited about S.C. yet I can’t. Not because I don’t like the look of it, or the design of the ships, the repetitiveness of watching your character climb in and out of a ship, all that I can look past :wink: Its because I dislike the business model of how they have scaled and priced the micro transactions, for what, a 3D model that they now have to get working with all the other bits and pieces to make a game.

Sure do a KS, raise money to get things going. Selling 20 models for amazing prices…WTF? It’s perhaps also why I cannot get why some people are spending that amount on what isn’t even a promise, its a ‘we’d like to do’ a stretch goal, problem is they have that many and they keep adding to them. RSI is very clever at hype marketing.

If they want a procedural universe why not approach I-Novae, have they, will they or do they think they are better than I-Novae?


To play Star Citizen’s advocate here for a sec…

It’s one thing to make an engine do something that it’s technically not designed to do. It’s hard and convoluted to do, but you’re working within that engine and from within that engine’s comfort zone, so if something goes wrong, it’s relatively simple to work out where and why.

It’s quite another to make two separate engines work together. Not only do you have all the difficulty and convoluted code of simply making an engine do something it doesn’t want to, but now, if something goes wrong, you have to troubleshoot two different engines, at least one of which your coders may or may not be familiar with, who may or may not be causing issues simply by interacting with each other.

I don’t think it’s necessarily that Robert’s team think they’re better than I-Novae, but that it’s ‘safer’ to to try to muck with CryEngine first and exhaust that option before looking at anything else.

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Now that this comes up …

Is it possible to port a game to a different engine.

Lets say in some years Star Citizen will have a product that is running Cry Engine 3.
Would it be possible for them to switch said game to a new engine?

Most of the Art assents can’t be so difficult to move … or what am I missing?

I also don’t a slight idea how game code and engine code interact.

It’s certainly possible, after all Valve have been doing it for years.

Though in those cases, I imagine that the new engine (or new engine version) is either backwards compatible, or doesn’t change the (code) interfaces too much.

This is an issue I have with them. See below.

Sure some funding whatever the percentage can/will go into engine development, the Cry Engine is already developed.

This new stretch goal isn’t for the immediate game development. “for future iterations.” So now its for the development of the Cry Engine down some branch. This maybe 8 years away??? Why would that topic even be raised now. Get the game out, get the MMO, tweak it, fix bugs then out of the profits, future funding if CryTek wanted to develop an engine that can procedurally generate go down that line, call it CryProGen. Don’t blow smoke in customers eyes to dupe them out of more money, oh but with a new ship to buy.

I like the idea of the game and what it may become, just not the way it is trying to attain those goals.


“We’re not worried! We’re not worried!” :wink: